My Fascination Advantage® Is The Veiled Strength – What’s Yours? [free assessment]

Do you know what makes you fascinating? What draws people to you and differentiates you from others in your profession or industry?

How To Fascinate Graphic

[Want to know how you “fascinate” the world? Read to the bottom of this post and get your code to take a free assessment!]

As a self-proclaimed “Assessment Junkie”, I love the idea of answering a few questions, and within just a few minutes, being presented with a multi-page report that gives me all of the answers I’ve ever wanted to know about myself.

Well, not exactly.

But I do enjoy taking assessments to find new and different ways to understand how I best communicate with the world and where I can add the most value.

That’s why I was intrigued when I first heard Sally Hogshead talk about her new book and the research behind How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination on a recent podcast with Brian Kelly called What The Speak.

Since I’m currently doing some work to clarify my brand and product/service offerings, I bought Sally’s book and read it over the July 4th holiday weekend. I also took the related Fascination Advantage® Assessment, which is billed as the first personality assessment developed based upon the science of branding, rather than psychology. Unlike traditional tests (Meyers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder) this assessment doesn’t measure how you see the world, it measures how the world sees you.


So I took the assessment and was intrigued by the results. I like the detail in the 16-page report, the information shared about all 49 Archetypes, and the explanatory videos that were included as part of the assessment results.

By the way, my Archetype is called “The Veiled Strength” and below is a snapshot of my primary, secondary and dormant advantages, as well as 3 words that others might use to describe me.

Pretty interesting stuff.

At A Glance Fascination Advantage


Want to understand more about how others see you and how you can discover your highest value?


I’ve got a free code for the 5-minute assessment (normally $37) for the first 100 (update: now 500) people that use it. Just go to and enter [BL-jmcclure] minus the brackets in the Book Code box.

After you’ve had a chance to review your report and take it all in, please take a moment to briefly share your Archetype and what you think about your results with me in the Comments section. I’d love to hear from at least one person for each Archetype!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Fascination Advantage® and how you can create your own Anthem using the information, share it with your clients and colleagues and even use it to improve the work of your team, be sure to get Sally Hogshead’s new book How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination.

I really enjoyed it, and I think you will too!

Creating a Value-Based Positioning Statement

As a speaker, consultant or business owner, have you struggled with how to position yourself in the marketplace in order to create demand and eliminate the need to compete based upon price?

To solve these common problems, you have to begin by answering some fundamental questions.

Last week, the National Speakers Association (NSA) held its annual convention in San Diego, California, and although I was unable to attend in person, they did provide some of the sessions via live stream, which was a great opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best speakers, authors and consultants.

One of my favorite sessions was from Hall of Fame Speaker and The Million Dollar Consultant® – Alan Weiss. I’ve long been a Fan of Mr. Weiss’ advice and approach. His Million Dollar Speaking: The Professional’s Guide to Building Your Platform book was one of the first that I read after starting my business in 2010. It’s full of great advice, examples and tips not only related to the business of speaking, but how to become an in-demand expert through effective positioning in the marketplace.

In his 75-minute talk at #NSA14 – “Million Dollar Positioning: How to Position Yourself as the Expert” – Mr. Weiss shared the basics of creating a Positioning Statement/Value Statement to convey expertise, value delivery and ultimately price in a crowded and noisy marketplace.

Figure out what you love – and what you’re best at. Take everything else away.

When you’re working at your best and highest value, you’re creating a great piece of art. And to create the great work of your life, you have to find what you love to do – and what you’re great at – and then carve away everything else.

It’s rumored that when asked how he carved out the amazingly beautiful and intricate David from a big square block of marble, Michelangelo replied, “I just took away everything that wasn’t David.”

Creating an effective and artful Positioning Statement is no different. Cull away things that aren’t really you or that you aren’t enthusiastic about so you can create your masterpiece.

Tell people how they’ll be better off after working with you.

Your Positioning Statement needs to answer these questions for your potential buyer:

How will you improve them?

What is the real value that you bring?

Ideally, you’re approach will be a bit edgy and provocative, and show that you think a bit differently. That way, your audience will want more – and because what you offer is unique, they’ll be willing to pay more to get it.

Position yourself as an Expert – not as a Speaker, Author, Consultant

There are hundreds and thousands of speakers, authors, consultants, etc. in the world, which means there is plenty of choice.

Buyers don’t want to hire just anyone, they want to hire experts. And if you’re not considered “The Expert”, you’re just a commodity – and you’ll always be treated as such in terms of price and opportunity.

Don’t just be a “delivery alternative” in your industry or profession. Be The Expert – which means you’ll need to create new and unique ideas, products and services that separate you from the rest.

Tip: Once you determine your area of expertise, you can then determine how to deliver it, but don’t mix in methodology in your Positioning Statement.

For example, don’t say: “Through coaching and consulting I create change that impacts strategic objectives.”

That kind of statement isn’t unique or compelling, and it doesn’t answer the most important question: “After I walk away from you, how will I be better off because I met you?”

Effective Position Statements: Examples

“I help small business owners accelerate their business and lead a fabulous life.”

“I help you to reduce stress so you can make rational and powerful decisions about your life.”


Always opinionated and full of great one-liners, Mr. Weiss (@BentleyGTCSpeed on Twitter) also reeled off some great quotes during his presentation – and all of which just happened to be less than 140 characters. (Check them out below, and if you like one or more, just click the link to tweet it out!)

“Wealth isn’t money. Wealth is discretionary time. You can always make another dollar, but you cannot make another minute.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“The greatest damage to excellence is from the pursuit of perfection.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“Self-esteem is an action that creates self-confidence. You have to work on it everyday. Tell yourself what you do well.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“Confidence is the belief you can help other people. Arrogance is the belief that you have nothing to learn yourself.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

I really enjoyed the session and took plenty of notes to take action and implement in my own expertise branding journey. And I appreciate the National Speakers Association for making this session available. I’d love to attend the event in-person next year!

Question: What’s your Value Statement? Share it with me in the Comments section. I’d love to learn from you and help others find your expertise!

The HOW and WHY of LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook For Business [Webinar Series]

I get to do many cool things in my job at Unbridled Talent, but one of the best things about my job is the opportunity to travel around and meet professionals who are interested in learning more about how to grow their professional careers or how to implement best practices to improve their company’s performance.

In addition to working with business leaders to define and implement people strategies required to achieve business objectives, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at over 150 conference events, corporate workshops, association meetings and webinars – often about how to utilize social media for career development, why social media matters for business and how to utilize social media tools and resources in Human Resources and Recruiting.

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

I love my job.

But even though LinkedIn recently reached it’s 10th anniversary, Facebook has turned 9 and Twitter has crossed the 7 year mark, many people are still confused about or unaware of how to best utilize social media tools as business and professional resources. It’s not uncommon for me to talk with someone after an event where the person relates something similar to, “I was skeptical that using social media was something that I (or my organization) needed to do and I didn’t understand it, but now, I believe that it is – and I can!” Best. Feedback. Ever.

And it’s ok.

That’s one of the reasons why Laurie Ruettimann* and I are teaming up to offer a series of upcoming webinars to help business professionals, human resources pros and talent acquisition geeks understand the HOW and WHY of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – and we’d love for you to join us!

We realize that many of you may not be inclined to attend a conference to learn more about how to use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and you also may not have the time or budget resources to do so. So we’re coming to you – in your offices, your cubicles or out on your back deck – via a series of 90 minute webinars to share what we’ve learned about using social media to cultivate awareness, develop your brand/your employer brand and effective ways to nurture both consumer and employment leads in the marketplace.

So here’s the scoop (click on the links for full session descriptions and for registration):

After doing webinars for other companies for years, many of whom charged quite a bit of money, we’d like to offer these webinars at an affordable price ($37 each or $99 for all three) and we’ll also provide everyone who registers with a free toolkit after each webinar that includes a copy of the slide deck, a recording of the webinar and a resource sheet with links to learn more from leading social media resources.

Not available during the specific dates or times? No worries. The webinars will be recorded for access at any time and you’ll still receive the toolkit!

Why are we doing this now? Because we want to help you and we want to share what we’ve learned from years of working as entrepreneurs, recruiters and human resources professionals along with our experience working in a variety of industries – both within corporate America and as external consultants working with some of the best leaders and companies in the world.

Have a question about the webinars or what’s in it for you? Let me know in the comments or you can find both Laurie and I on the interwebs via

LinkedIn – Laurie Ruettimann / LinkedIn – Jennifer McClure

Twitter – Laurie Ruettimann / Twitter – Jennifer McClure

Facebook – Laurie Ruettimann / Facebook – Jennifer McClure

Or just go old school and send me an email!

If you know someone who could benefit from one, two or all three of these webinars, please share this information with your colleagues or clients!

*True story. Laurie is my favorite Cynical Girl, Pixie of the Apocalypse, cat lover and thinker/agitator in the world of work. We “met online” years ago when I found her Punk Rock HR blog, so when we actually met for the first time in person at the 2009 SHRM Annual Conference, we were already BFF’s. Ultimately, Laurie has been one of the most helpful people to me in developing my business and my speaking career and is firmly ensconced in the Unbridled Talent President’s Club. See? Using social media to build real relationships and to grow your business can definitely work!


Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of recruiting & human resources strategy, employment branding and leadership/career development. We offer keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

Why Personal Branding Is Important for Career Development in HR – #NextChat

Personal Branding. The phrase that doesn’t want to die.

Personal Branding and Human Resources. Not like peanut butter and chocolate. Or is it?.

We can blame Tom Peters for starting the whole personal branding thing way back in 1997 with his article – “The Brand Called You” in Fast Company Magazine – , but the phrase really came into its own in the latter part of the last decade as technology and social media provided everyone from underdogs to big dogs the opportunity to better manage their careers, get noticed and reach a global audience if desired.

One of the first talks that I gave as a “professional” Speaker way back in 2007 was at a women’s professional networking group on the topic of “Personal Branding For Career Success” – and I’ll be delivering a 1/2 day workshop on the same topic this weekend for MBA students at Xavier University. The concept of defining and developing your Personal Brand remains an important topic for career management. And if you’re working in Human Resources, that goes for you and your professional counterparts too! Even if you don’t want to think so.

To understand more about how the concepts of Personal Branding can help you as an HR Pro, I’d like to invite you to join me and the good folks from SHRM | We Know Next today, September 12th, at 3pm ET for a “Twitter chat” about Personal Branding and why it’s important for HR pros. You can participate in, or follow the “chat” on Twitter  via the hashtag#Nextchat. (New to Twitter chats? Learn more here – How to Participate in a Twitter Chat.)

Have questions? We’ll attempt to answer them. Have input or expertise? I’d love to hear from you. Think this Personal Branding thing is the greatest thing since sliced bread – or a bunch of hooey? I definitely want you to share your thoughts!


For more details on tomorrow’s #Nextchat, check out the SHRM – We Know Next blogNextchat: “Why Personal Branding Is Important for Career Development in HR” – September 12, 2012 @ 3pm ET

If someone were to ask you to write down what you believe your “personal brand” is today, what would you write?  Are you excited about it?  Does it really describe your character, personality and passions?

In today’s competitive labor market, building a personal brand with a strong online presence is critical to your career, so it’s important to prioritize and identify ways to get noticed inside and outside of the office. There is tremendous value in personal branding and in the concepts of understanding who you are and being able to communicate your value, as well as to articulate what differentiates you from others in your field.

Whether you know it or not, people have a perception of you — and you need to take control of that.

Join us at 3 p.m on 9/12 for #Nextchat with Jennifer McClure of Unbridled Talent.  We’ll discuss the ways a busy HR pro can accomplish building their Personal Brand.

Q1. Why is personal branding so important for career development in HR?

Q2. How can HR pros use social media to help create and promote their personal brand?

Q3. Is face to face networking still important to creating a personal brand? Why?/why not?

Q4. What are the best ways that busy HR pros can develop a personal brand with limited time and on a limited budget?

Q5. How can developing a personal brand aid your career as an HR pro?

Personal Branding For Career Growth & Success [Presentation]

Last week, I once again had the privilege of speaking to a group of over 50 women who have been selected for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s WE Lead Program. This was the 3rd year in a row that I’ve had the opportunity to share with the participants in this 10 month leadership development program about the importance of Personal Branding in today’s competitive employment environment.

It’s always a pleasure to spend time with highly talented women with such high potential and I really enjoy the conversation and feedback that happens as a result!

In my “Personal Branding for Career Success” session, the participants are initially asked to write a few words or statements describing what they believe their Personal Brand is today, as well as what they’d like for it to be (assuming that is different). Then, we work as a group to get that message into a a succinct Personal Brand Statement for each individual that they can utilize as a base for building a strong online presence, focusing their career activities and even prioritizing and identifying ways to get noticed within and outside of work.

I’ve included the presentation deck from last week’s presentation below.

Personally, I’m a bit over the term “personal branding”, but I do still see tremendous value in the concepts of understanding who you are and being able to communicate your value, as well as to articulate what differentiates you from others in your field. Clearly, many of the participants did as well, as evidenced by some of their comments:
“This was a fascinating topic. Hadn’t thought a lot about doing personal branding, but see how it fits with career and work. She was very organized with presentation, handouts, small group activity and content was great.”
“Excellent, but I left feeling somewhat inadequate. Time to get to work!”
“Helped to spend some time reworking my personal brand statement. She knows her stuff.”
“So helpful! Lots of steps to take to claim my brand.”
“People do have a perception of me. I need to take control of that.”
“Branding session impressed on me the importance of keeping social media tools updated.”
“Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with our WE Lead class yesterday! Your presentation is always one of the best-received of the entire program and that was true again this year. Clearly the information you share resonates with the group and it motivates them to take action. Please know how much we appreciate your contribution to WE Lead and hope you take pride in the lasting impact you are making for these women. – Diana Long, Program Manager Women Excel
What’s your take on the topic of Personal Branding? Love it? Hate it? Think it’s more important than ever to have one?

If Google Says I’m the Best Recruiter in the World… It Must Be True

You may have heard this phrase before:

“It’s not who you know… but who knows you – and what they say about you.”

I believe that statement is very true, but since we live in an increasingly online world, maybe it should be modified to:

“It’s not who you know, or what they say about you… it’s what Google says about you.”

Case in point – a short email I received last week:

Email shot

Wondering if Curt was on to something, I Googled the phrase “best recruiter in the world” and here’s what I found:

Google shot

The first two unpaid hits out of over 2,200 results came from a tongue-in-cheek post on this blog from July 2009:

Best Recruiter shot

I’m no SEO expert, but I did choose the title intentionally back then, assuming that it’s possible people (ideally client companies) sometimes go to Google and start with that phrase when looking for a Recruiter. A long shot I know. But nothing ventured, nothing gained right? As someone responsible for developing my own business, I try to use every option available to me.

Looks like my title strategery worked a little better than I expected – or at least it worked well enough to give me a laugh. And Curt got a nice response for being a little more creative than the too often used – “I see you’re a Recruiter. Can you help me find a job?”

This cheeky little example was a good reminder for me of how important it is to be mindful of what I put out there on the interwebs. Like it or not, your credibility (and mine) is being judged every day by people searching Google (and other search engines) who are finding your blog posts, tweets, LinkedIn profile, etc.

Thankfully, Google got it right this time.

Let’s be careful out there…

Personal Branding and Women Leaders

Today, I had the privilege of speaking about Personal Branding to the 50+ participants in the 2009/2010 class of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's Leadership Development Program for Women – – WE Lead. It was an honor to be able to spend some time with some of Cincinnati's leading women and to talk with them about the importance of having a "personal brand" to better manage their careers and attract business opportunities. 

During the presentation, I shared how my own personal brand has evolved over the last few years and is currently "under construction" (see my last post) as I prepare to take this itty bitty world by storm in 2010. Stay tuned…

An embed of the presentation is included below (email subscribers click through to view):

Resources shared with participants:

10 Steps to Uncovering and Building Your Authentic Personal Brand by Meg Guiseppi


* Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand by William Arruda & Kirsten Dixon

    – Free downloadable workbook

    – 360°Reach™ – Personal Brand Assessment (with book purchase)

* Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton

    – Take Gallup’s profile online (with code from book purchase)


* Free e-book on Personal Branding by Chris Brogan


* What’s The Value of your Personal Brand Quiz

* Online Identity Calculator

Recommended Blogs:

* Personal Branding Blog

* Executive Career Brand

Google Alerts:



Personal Branding was all the rage a couple of years ago, but the
hoopla seems to have faded a bit recently.

While it may be called something different in the future, I think it will always be important to define who you are, what you do, who you do it for and the
value you offer. Doing so helps you to focus your efforts and target opportunities and also allows you to engage your network to assist you in getting what you want.

What do you think about having a Personal Brand? Is it still necessary? Or is the concept so 2000 and late?

Can Your Awesomeness Be Contained To 7 Words?

Recently, I came across a discussion in a LinkedIn Group that I manage, where a member posted an interesting Discussion topic that sparked over 175 comments. It was a simple request:

Can Your Awesomeness Be Contained To 7 Words?

Describe what you do in exactly 7 words.

It was interesting to see all of the responses to the question over a few weeks, and through them I learned about/became interested in several people that I wasn’t familiar with who conveyed their personal or business brand in a concise and meaningful way.

Others paid no attention to the 7-word limit, and rambled on as they likely would in person (rule-breakers). A few used less that 7 words (show-offs/also rule-breakers), and at least one person answered the question several times with a different 7-word response each time (confused).

Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a business owner, a person in career transition, or a recent college grad, it’s important to have a descriptive and succinct response to the inevitable question you’ll encounter when meeting someone for the first time – “What do you do?”.

And while it’s not typically required to limit yourself to 7 words, I think this is a good exercise, and worth your time to figure out a concise way to describe who you are, and what you do

Can you describe your awesomeness in exactly 7 words?

Give it a shot in the comments!

And if you’re wondering what the perfect 7 word description is for myself…

World’s only human who doesn’t drink coffee.

Okay, I got to get to work on that. 🙂

Searching For a Job? Don’t Call a Recruiter – Think Like a Recruiter

Jobsearchnewspaper If you’re currently searching for a job, I can relate to you in many ways. I’ve been a job seeker, a hiring manager who’s interviewed candidates, and now I’m a Recruiter and active networker who interacts with people at all stages of career transition on a daily basis.

In my current role, I come in contact with many job seekers who believe (or hope) that the answer to their current situation is to contact a Recruiter and turn over their job search to them. They need a job – and the Recruiter needs to place someone in a job in order to make money.

Sounds like a win-win for both right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works with most Recruiters, and my concern is that many end up frustrated with us because we aren’t finding them a job, or they don’t feel that we’re interested in helping them.

The straight scoop is that it’s highly unlikely a Recruiter will personally take on your job search, provide you with contacts that are hiring, make calls for you, or (shocker) even place you in your next job.

Typically, individuals placed by Recruiters are identified in one of two ways. They’re either found out of the blue (cold-called) by a Recruiter searching for someone that specifically matches their skills and experience, or they were top of mind for a Recruiter when an opportunity came along (specifically matching their skills and experience) because they had developed a relationship with the Recruiter through regular interaction and/or providing referrals in the past.

While that may be disappointing to hear for those new to the job hunt, it’s true.

The reality in today’s economy is that most Recruiters are very much in the same boat as job seekers right now. If jobs are harder to come by, so are “job orders”, and the majority of a Recruiter’s time and energy is devoted to developing new business.

So what’s a job seeker to do if Recruiters aren’t the answer?

My best advice to you – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Make like a Recruiter, become your own Headhunter, and create opportunities for yourself by doing the following:

1. You must get out and network.

You knew this would be number one right? The simple truth is that there’s no way to get around it. And it will take time. No one magically hands over new clients to Recruiters – they have to actively seek them out and find them.

In my case, in addition to working with current clients, I spend a good portion of every day in some sort of networking or relationship building activity (i.e. business development). I attend networking and professional association meetings, make regular phone calls, schedule meetings with key relationships to keep in touch, etc. etc.

As a job seeker, you MUST be actively networking to secure your next job. In fact – networking IS your current job!

2. Focus on helping others.

Take advantage of every opportunity to connect or help other people where it makes sense.

As a Recruiter, I’m always on the lookout for ways to provide referrals or to connect my clients and relationships to people or resources that can help them.

By adding value to our relationship and helping them with their needs, they typically also want to help me. (Note: 100% of my current clients were referrals from someone that I helped at some point and expected nothing in return.) Those in career transition who do this well tend to land sooner and develop armies of people interested in helping them.

Call it Career Karma, Givers Gain, or whatever fits, but it works and I see it in action all of the time.

3. Develop and communicate your “Brand” effectively. 

Just as there are an overwhelming number of people out there today searching for jobs, the competition among Recruiters is fierce to secure clients and opportunities. As a result, each of us must work to distinguish ourselves from the pack. I personally do this by ensuring that my key relationships know what I do (Executive Recruiting, Executive Coaching, Consulting, Speaking/Training) and the types of people that are most beneficial for me to connect with (decision-makers, business owners and C-level executives).

Unfortunately, many frustrated job seekers are branding themselves this way – “I’m open to any opportunity where I can utilize the many skills I have in any industry”. This type of statement does nothing to make them memorable and unfortunately gives the people that they interact with no idea (or initiative) to help them or refer them.

4. Research companies and opportunities to “position yourself to be lucky”.

Recruiters must have a hand on the pulse of what’s going on at all times in the industries and communities where their target clients are. Many an opportunity is uncovered by reading newspapers and industry or professional publications and keeping an ear to the ground.

Recruiters read between the lines of growth, restructuring, new hire, promotion and even layoff announcements and rumors to identify opportunities. We then tap into our networks to connect with the right individuals in these companies to explore how we can add value. Job seekers who do the same thing often identify un-posted or not-yet-created opportunities for themselves as well.

“Luck” typically happens to those who have placed themselves in a position to be successful.

For the record, I truly wish I could help each and every person that reaches out to me to find the perfect job. Also for the record, finding jobs for people is not what I (or other Recruiters) do. It’s actually the opposite – I find specific people for specific leadership and key individual contributor roles at my client companies (who are the ones who pay for my services).

The good news is that you – the job seeker – can employ the exact same tactics that I (and other Recruiters) use to develop new business towards developing your next great career opportunity.

Now, let’s go get ’em!